Molecules in the body made up of nutrients and enzymes, antioxidants act as natural defenders of your body’s well being. While the health benefits of antioxidants are many, their main function in the body is to inhibit the oxidation of others molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells.
What are Free Radicals?
These organic molecules, sometimes simply referred to as radicals, are responsible for aging and tissue damage. They are also believed to be responsible for certain diseases. Very unstable, they look to bond with other molecules.
By doing this, free radicals destroy the health of the molecules which can result in further damage to cells, proteins and DNA. This oxidation process is not unlike the process that causes oils to become rancid, peeled apples to turn brown, and iron to rust.
The human body naturally produces free radicals and the antioxidants to counteract their damaging effects. Oxidative stress occurs when free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants.
This imbalance is a fairly common occurrence which can be counteracted by external antioxidants from foods or supplements. Antioxidants benefit the body by neutralizing and removing free radicals from the bloodstream.
Common signs of oxidative damage are apparent in the normal signs of aging: skin changes such as the appearance wrinkles, and ocular changes, including the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Different Health Benefits of Antioxidants
There are a wide range of antioxidants found in nature, and because they are so varied, different antioxidants provide benefits to different parts of the body.
Skin Health Benefits
When skin is exposed to high levels of ultraviolet light, photo-oxidative damage occurs which can adversely affect cellular lipids, proteins and DNA. This type of damage is considered to be the primary cause of sunburn, premature aging of the skin, photodermatoses, and skin cancers.
Antioxidants can help to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Unlike sunscreens and moisturizers, antioxidants can protect your skin from the inside out by guarding your cells from damage. Vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium are believed to be particularly helpful in skin care.
In addition to helping fortify cells against free radicals, vitamins A and C also encourage cell and tissue growth, helping the body to repair itself. Because your skin is constantly shedding and regrowing cells, any antioxidants that protect cells and encourage cell growth could be helpful in an anti-aging regimen, as they may help fight fine lines and wrinkles.
Additional Health Benefits of Antioxidants
Maintaining a healthy antioxidant intake is essential for optimum health, especially in today’s polluted world. The body just can’t naturally keep up with antioxidant production and a good amount of these vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and enzymes must be provided by your daily diet.
Boosting your antioxidant intake can help provide added protection for the body. Antioxidant deficiency can have adverse effects on your overall health.
Vision and eye health are typically among the first things to depreciate with aging. Beta-carotene and other carotenoids can be very beneficial to eye health. Other health benefits of antioxidants include: lycopene to help maintain prostate health; flavonoids are particularly beneficial for heart health; and proanthocyanidins are beneficial for urinary tract health.
Antioxidants are good, but do you have enough? How do you know? Vive Medical Weight Loss and Aesthetics is proud to provide Spectracell Micronutrient Testing. This testing will provide you with a Spectrox score, or total antioxidant function test, which assess your body’s ability of cells to resist damage caused by free radicals or other forms of oxidative stress.
When the results of your Spectracell Micronutrient Lab tests are completed, a full interpretation will not only give you answers but show you how to fix any deficiencies using food first, supplements second.
Getting tested is simple. Call to set up a consultation and learn more about the testing process.